Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

December 23, 2009
Singapore's R&D expenditure increased 12.4 percent in 2008, compared to 2007
Singapore's A*STAR reported that the nation's gross expenditure on R&D in 2008 recorded a new high of $7.13 billion (Singapore dollars), a 2.77 percent of GDP.

Broken genomes behind breast cancers
A detailed search has revealed how the human genome is rearranged in 24 cases of breast cancer.

Encyclopedia of microbe genomes: Chapter 1
Genome scientists from the US and Germany have assembled the first pages of a comprehensive encyclopedia of genomes of all the microbes on Earth.

UCSB scientists discover how the brain encodes memories at a cellular level
Scientists at UC Santa Barbara have made a major discovery in how the brain encodes memories.

An easy way to see the world's thinnest material
Jiaxing Huang at the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science uses the dye fluorescein to create a new imaging technique to view graphene.

Sun and moon trigger deep tremors on San Andreas Fault
When the sun and moon are aligned with the San Andreas Fault they tug on it enough to increase the tremor rate deep underground, according to a new UC Berkeley study.

Physician-assisted suicide: A perspective from advocates for people with disability
Although public opinion in the US on physician-assisted suicide is evenly divided, about half of states have either defeated bills to legalize assisted suicide or have passed laws explicitly banning it and only two states have legalized it.

Modernizing the treatment of sexual dysfunction in men
Modern, couple-oriented treatment for male sexual dysfunction takes the psychosocial aspects of sex into account, as well as focusing on the purely physical aspects of the problem.

Whiskers hold secrets of invasive minks
Details of the lifestyle of mink, which escaped from fur farms and now live wild in the UK, have been revealed through analysis of their whiskers.

Opening new frontiers: First volume of microbial encyclopedia published
Two thousand years after Pliny the Elder compiled one of the earliest surviving encyclopedic works, and in the spirit of his goal of providing

Researchers find new patterns in H1N1 deaths
Brazilian researchers have performed the first-ever autopsy study to examine the precise causes of death in victims of the H1N1 swine flu.

Columbia scientists discover 2 genes that drive aggressive brain cancers
A team of Columbia scientists have discovered two genes that, when simultaneously activated, are responsible for the most aggressive forms of brain cancer.

Study shows a key protein helps control blood pressure
University of Iowa researchers have shown that a protein channel helps nerve sensors in blood vessels keep blood pressure in check.

Glacial watersheds may contribute to oceanic food web
A study recently completed in the gulf coast of Alaska by federal and university researchers has found that as glacial ice disappears, the production and export of high-quality food from glacial watersheds to marine ecosystems may disappear too.

Turtles' Christmas journey tracked by scientists
The journeys of two marine turtles around the world's oceans will be available to view online this Christmas, thanks to a new research project launched by the University of Exeter.

Vampires and collisions rejuvenate stars
Using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have uncovered two distinct kinds of

Switching off hunger hormone affects desire to drink
A Faculty of 1000 evaluation examines how a stomach-produced hormone that influences the desire to eat and consume alcohol could be switched off to control drinking problems.

Climate change puts ecosystems on the run
Global warming is causing climate belts to shift toward the poles and to higher elevations.

American scriptwriters increasingly incorporating Spanish in their dialogues
Nieves Jiménez Carra, a researcher and lecturer at the Pablo de Olavide University in Seville has studied how scripts swap from one language to another in American television series and cinema.

Do computers understand art?
A team of researchers from the University of Girona and the Max Planck Institute in Germany has shown that some mathematical algorithms provide clues about the artistic style of a painting.

Genomic toggle switches divide autoimmune diseases into distinct clusters, Stanford study shows
Genomic switches can predispose an individual to one set of autoimmune disorders but protect the same person against another set of them, scientists at Stanford University School of Medicine have found.

Sleeping off childhood?
Prof. Avi Sadeh of Tel Aviv University's department of psychology suggests that changes in children's sleep patterns are evident just before the onset of physical changes associated with puberty.

First adhere, then detach and glide forward
How do one-celled parasites move from the salivary gland of a mosquito through a person's skin into red blood cells?

Alzheimer's disease may protect against cancer and vice versa
People who have Alzheimer's disease may be less likely to develop cancer, and people who have cancer may be less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease, according to a new study published in the Dec.

Phragmites partners with microbes to plot native plants' demise
University of Delaware researchers have uncovered a novel means of conquest employed by the common reed, Phragmites australis, which ranks as one of the world's most invasive plants.

Final moments of bee landing tactics revealed
When bees come into land they slow their speed as they approach, but what happens in the final instants before touch down?

K-State psychologists show that future-minded people make better decisions for their health
A pair of Kansas State University researchers found that people who tend to think in the long term are more likely to make positive decisions about their health, whether it's how much they drink, what they eat, or their decision to wear sunscreen.

Research yields new agent for some drug-resistant non-small cell lung cancers
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute scientists have discovered a compound capable of halting a common type of drug-resistant lung cancer.

Yale researchers reveal secrets of duck sex: It's all screwed up
Female ducks have evolved an intriguing way to avoid becoming impregnated by undesirable but aggressive males endowed with large corkscrew-shaped penises: vaginas with clockwise spirals that thwart oppositely spiraled males.

Stellar mosh pit, complete with crashing stars, resolves a mystery
For almost 50 years, astronomers have puzzled over the youthful appearance of stars known as blue stragglers.

Scientists map speed of climate change
From beetles to barnacles, pikas to pine warblers, many species are already on the move in response to shifting climate regimes.

Pollution linked to hospitalizations for pneumonia in older adults
Older adults with long-term exposure to higher levels of pollution are at higher risk for hospitalization for pneumonia, according to researchers in Canada.

New study shows rise in drug resistance of dangerous infection in US hospitals
A new study in the journal Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology reports a surge in drug-resistant strains of Acinetobacter, a dangerous type of bacteria that is becoming increasingly common in US hospitals.

John Flynn elected as AAAS Fellow
John Flynn, Frick curator of fossil mammals and professor and dean of the Richard Gilder Graduate School at the American Museum of Natural History, has been awarded the distinction of Fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Soil studies reveal rise in antibiotic resistance
An unexpected rise in environmental levels of antibiotic resistance poses a potential threat to people's health.

Air pollution linked to hospitalizations for pneumonia in seniors
A study found that among older individuals, long-term exposure to traffic pollution independently increased their risk of hospitalization for pneumonia.

Brain training can help improve specific abilities in older people
Many brain training products claim to be able to keep us mentally fit.

K-State plant pathology professor awarded international professorship for Latin America
The American Society for Microbiology has awarded one of its international professorships to John Leslie, professor and head of the plant pathology department at Kansas State University.

New insights into mushroom-derived drug promising for cancer treatment
A promising cancer drug, first discovered in a mushroom commonly used in Chinese medicine, could be made more effective thanks to researchers who have discovered how the drug works.

Scientists create world's first molecular transistor
A group of scientists has succeeded in creating the first transistor made from a single molecule.

Glacier melt adds ancient edibles to marine buffet
Glaciers along the Gulf of Alaska are enriching stream and near shore marine ecosystems from a surprising source -- ancient carbon contained in glacial runoff.

Figitumumab has anti-tumor activity in Ewing's sarcoma, a cancer which affects mainly teenage boys
A preliminary study of the anticancer drug figitumumab has found that it has anti-tumor activity in Ewing's sarcoma -- a cancer which affects mainly teenage boys.

Understanding interaction in virtual worlds
Millions are immersed in virtual worlds and multiplayer online games.

Genetic study reveals the origins of cavity-causing bacteria
Researchers have uncovered the complete genetic make-up of the cavity-causing bacterium Bifidobacterium dentium Bd1, revealing the genetic adaptations that allow this microorganism to live and cause decay in the human oral cavity.

Synergistic interaction enhances pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease
Scientists have identified a synergistic interaction that disrupts normal intracellular transport mechanisms and leads to the accumulation of neuron-damaging clumps of protein associated with Parkinson's disease (PD), a neurodegenerative disorder that is characterized by a specific loss of neurons in the midbrain and brainstem.

Subtle change dramatically reduces pathogenic potential of Huntington's protein
Scientists have identified a key molecular switch that may drive the onset of Huntington's disease (HD), an incurable neurodegenerative disorder that leads to severe disruptions in muscle coordination and cognitive function.

News brief: Knockdown of E2F1 reduces invasive potential of melanoma cells
Inhibition of transcription factor E2F1 reduced epidermal growth factor receptor expression and reduced the invasive potential but not proliferation of metastatic melanoma cells, according to a brief communication published online Dec.

A novel gene found for childhood-onset asthma
Pediatric researchers have identified a novel gene involved in childhood asthma, in one of the largest gene studies to date of the common respiratory disease.

Stars engage in vampirism to look young, hot
A small fraction of stars -- blue stragglers -- found in the globular cluster Messier 30 appear to regress from
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